Abd-El-Aziz Yousef Makes Somalia Debut
Yesterday marked a historic day for the Somalian National Football Team: it secured its first-ever FIFA World Cup Qualifying win after beating out Zimbabwe 1-0. The match, which was played in Djibouti due to security concerns in Somalia, saw Halifax Wanderers youngster Abd-El-Aziz Yousef make his international debut for the Ocean Stars.
After just receiving his Somalia call-up one week ago, the 19-year-old winger put in a full shift for Somalia, playing the full ninety minutes in a match that would see second-half Somalian substitute Anwar Sidali Shakunda score the game’s only goal four minutes from the game’s conclusion. As the final whistle sounded, the Ocean Stars were in full celebration mode, and rightfully so: it was a historic night in Djibouti.
The 1-0 win was a shock result at this stage of the tournament, with Somalia ranked 202 out of 211 countries in the tournament, which put the country some 90 ranks below Zimbabwe. Of course, Somalia’s work isn’t done yet in terms of the qualifier, but it’s a great start for the country.
While Yousef signed for the Halifax Wanderers back in April, he has yet to make his debut for the Canadian Premier League club. He said he was excited to learn under Stephen Hart, who himself managed both Canada and Trinidad and Tobago before his coaching career eventually saw him return to the east coast.
Before his jump into the CPL, Yousef played for SC Cambuur in the Dutch second division, but evidently wanted to return to Canada. He grew up in Vancouver, with his family having immigrated to the west coast city from Saudi Arabia.
Now that he’s made his full international debut, it’ll be interesting to see of Yousef can put in the work to convince coach Hart that he deserves a debut for his club, too.
The Canadian Premier League has a few other players on international duty, too: Marco Carducci is currently with the Canadian national team, while Forge FC goalkeeper Quillan Roberts has received his second call-up for Guyana. All of the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League games will be streamed on OneSoccer, while fans who want to tune in to Somalia’s next CAF World Cup Qualifier can watch the official FIFA stream for free on YouTube this Sunday.